Monday, April 26, 2010

Building a Better Burger!

In our family, we loves us some burgers! (However, as vegetarians they would all be of the meatless variety!)
The average fast food burger is a heart attack waiting to happen, loaded with cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Eating red meat also brings up the spectre of possible E.Coli contamination, and the issue of Mad Cow Disease. The rates of obesity in North America has also risen in proportion to the fast food that we are now consuming as a society.
Not so with this burger! I've had people tell me that they didn't want to eat veggie burgers because they "don't taste like beef." Well, so what? A chicken burger doesn't taste like a beef burger either, but you still eat that. So there goes that argument.
Another argument is that veggie burgers all cost more than your typical beef burger. That argument does have a little more merit, but only because beef production is so heavily subsidized by government handouts, and beef cattle are now for the most part raised in very efficient, very cheap, very polluted and very cruel feedlots, where they stand day after day knee deep in manure, eating cheap grain that their bodies were not built to digest. These feedlots cause suffering for the cows, pollute our water, and as the cows are more likely to become ill, they are regularly dosed with antibiotics, (which will eventually be coming to YOU when they hit your plate.)
No such issues with this burger, though! Not only are these burgers super-healthy for you, they are also super kind to your wallet, using lentils and bulgur (a whole grain easily obtained at most grocery stores) which not only provide excellent nutrition, but also happen to be blazingly inexpensive.
Each patty contains only 150 calories, while still providing 7 grams of fibre and 7 grams of protein, along with zero fat and cholesterol.
Although you may look at this recipe and say, that's just not my style, take a chance and give it a try! I think you'll be amazed at home delicious something so simple can taste. My family and I all loved them the very first time we tried them. They also freeze well if the recipe makes more than you need.

Lentil- Bulgur Burgers

Makes 8 burgers

(This recipe is open to many different flavor combinations, so attempt this recipe if you are feeling creative and want to customize something to your own personal taste.)
1/2 cup brown lentils and 1/2 cup of bulgur
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp ground flax, mixed with 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp wheat germ and a bit of chopped onion (optional)

1 Tbsp or so vegan bouillon, spices to taste, a squirt of soya sauce or ketchup (all optional)
Start by simmering the lentils and the bulgur in water on the stove. You will need at least two cups of water to start, and will undoubtedly need to add more as you simmer. You can add bouillon, spices, soya sauce, whatever you like for flavour to the water. Watch the pot carefully, as this stuff has a tendency to stick. Simmer until lentils are soft and water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool. Place in a bowl and mix in flax and water mixture, breadcrumbs, and wheat germ. Add a little ketchup or non-dairy milk IF the mixture is too dry.
Add more breadcrumbs if it seems too wet to hold together. Make into 8 burgers. Fry or bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. (BTW, the absolute best way to make perfect burgers is to place a round ball of the mixture between two pieces of wax paper, and press down on it with the back of a dessert plate.)

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